Truly if we view our difficulties, sicknesses, pains or sufferings in this life without God, they are rather meaningless, despairing and scary. But if we have God in our life, then we can have the assurance of His love and that all things are working together for His glory and our good - even our pains, sicknesses and sufferings. All these are working together too for our good. And this is our comfort! We may not always understand these things or God's purposes in allowing us to go through them. But we can have the assurance of His love as He assured us in His Words.
This morning, I was reading a portion of a little booklet entitled "Looking Unto Jesus" by Theodore Monod. The following portion brings much encouragement again:
Looking Unto Jesus
And not at our troubles,
to count up their number, to reckon their weight,.... Apart from Jesus trouble does not sanctify, it hardens or it crushes. It produces not patience, but rebellion; not sympathy, but selfishness; not hope (Romans 5:3,4) but despair. It is only under the shadow of the cross that we can appreciate the true weight of our own cross, and accept it each day from His hand, to carry it with love, with gratitude, with joy; and find in it for ourselves and for others a source of blessings.
My diagnosis of proneness to bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness) last March ie March 2007 helped to see that my extreme mood swings and especially those 11 severe depressive episodes were due to a medical conditions that can be treated. When I realized that my condition is a medical condition, I then realized too that it can happen to anyone, just like diabetes, asthma and hypertension. Knowing this, helps me to accept my condition as from the hands of God.
I look upon my condition both as a thorn in my flesh to humble me and make me more dependant upon God, and also as a mercy from God to enable me to know Him, His love and faithfulness in very real and personal way. I would not have known God or understand His Words better if not because of the severe trials I have been going through over the last 20 years in battling severe depressions. Though depressions are awful beyond words, and I would not want to go through another extensive episode, they do have very sanctifying influences on me. I grow through every of such painful and difficult experiences. When I found that I could not get better and no one understand or sympathize with me, I was made to throw myself wholely upon God. Like Job, I learn to say "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him". Though at times when I was severely depressed and I can't feel God's presence with me at times (due to the nature of depression causing my brain not to receive appropriate messages) God is still with me. It is He that sustains and deliver me eventually.
Looking unto Jesus daily now, gives me the joy and the strength to press on in this pilgrim journey. I live in the uncertainty of whether tomorrow or the next moment I might plunge into severe depression once again (this being the nature of the illness), but I am learning to cast my cares upon God daily. Not to worry, but to trust and pray. I pray for God's preservation daily from severe depression or severe manic. I pray daily for grace to live for God and to be useful to Him and to others. Looking unto God, gives me the courage to press on and find out strength and joy in Him. Just as I need my daily bread, I need my daily grace too. And these come from God alone. I am thankful that I can wake up each day with joy and anticipation. I pray that I may be able remember God's sovereignty in my life always , rejoice in His love and faithfulness, and seek to do His will by His grace.
The remembrance of God's mercies, drive away my anxieties and fears. Truly, our Lord Jesus Christ's grace is sufficient for us as He Who loved us and gave His life for us continues to love and care for us daily, through all the changing scenes of life. What a comfort!
I took this photo of the waves at East Coast Beach, Singapore.
The sea of God's mercy should swallow up our particular afflictions. - Luther